November 28, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
14°F
test

Escaped convict captured

ELYRIA — An escapee from the Lorain/Medina Community Based Correctional Facility barricaded himself in his parents’ home Thursday, keeping police at bay for more than three hours before surrendering.

Drew Manns, 23, of Elyria, was being held overnight at EMH Regional Medical Center in Elyria, where he was taken for an evaluation. He will face charges as a result of the incident when he is released, police said.

 
BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE
Drew Manns surrenders to police.

Officials said Manns walked away from the correctional facility Wednesday night by going out a door left open for ventilation following a small computer fire at the facility on Murray Ridge Road in Elyria.

Imprisoned for stealing a car in August, Manns jumped a fence sometime after 11 p.m. and made his way north toward his mother and stepfather’s Villanova Circle home in Elyria, where he also lived.

Elyria police speculate — but haven’t confirmed — that Mann stole a vehicle from a South West River Road home not far from the correctional facility.

Around 11:30 a.m., police were sent to the Kidney Center of Northeast Ohio on North Abbe Road after receiving multiple reports that a young man had broken into a vehicle.

One of the witnesses, Travis McHenry, said he saw a man banging on a car window with a tire iron, finally breaking a window and removing something from the car.

The vehicle later was found to be the same vehicle stolen from near the correctional facility, and police learned that a small-caliber handgun that the owner had inside the vehicle was missing.

“I’m not sure if he locked himself out or not,” said Elyria police Lt. Andy Eichenlaub. “We’re still investigating whether he stole the vehicle in the first place.”

The car’s location near the home Manns share with his parents led them there, and they established contact with him by phone. Manns told police he was alone, but he had a gun and didn’t want to go back to jail.

That prompted police to call in a hostage negotiation team, and around 15 officers from Elyria, Sheffield, the Elyria SWAT team and the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office responded, closing off nearby Antioch Drive with yellow police tape.

Less than a block away, students inside Erie Elementary School were kept inside the school on lockdown.

No one was allowed in, and no one was allowed out. The doors and windows were locked, and students and staff were warned about the situation.

Principal Tom Brown’s quick action left some parents breathing a sign of relief.

“It’s a shame when something like this happens,” said the parent of a fourth-grader who would only give her name as Kris. “Most kids who go here walk. This was so close — too close for comfort.”

Kris, who works nearby, rushed to the school around 1:30 p.m. only to find the doors locked and a note tacked on the window asking all parents to call the office.

She said that was enough to calm her fears.

In the meantime, police continued to talk to Manns, and they finally got him to peacefully give himself up around 2:30 p.m. as members of his family arrived at the scene.

Temeka Guzman, Mann’s older sister, said her brother was born with a birth defect that hinders his ability to tell right from wrong.

“He’s impulsive,” Guzman said. “He doesn’t know if he’s done something wrong until after he’s done it, but he’s not violent. He’d never hurt anybody.”

Reporters Cindy Leise and Lisa Roberson contributed to this story.
Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.